The homework question gets a wide variety of responses. Is homework worthwhile? What’s the value of homework, and should students even have any homework at all?
It’s an important question, not least of all because it can involve parents and family time. We believe it’s important enough to look closely at the research, and explain why Arches Academy has the values and policies that we do.
The most comprehensive study is from Duke University, and this study found a positive correlation between completing homework and academic success. This correlation began young, and increased as students advanced to older grades. An article from Concordia University describes four benefits that students receive by doing homework: Responsibility, Time Management, Perseverance, and Self-Esteem. In fact, a great TED Talk by the psychologist Angela Duckworth describes how this perseverance, this grit, can be the greatest predictor of future success.
Of course here at Arches we believe in balance, and the value of personal and family time. In other words, when we’re talking about the value of homework, we aren’t talking about overloading and overwhelming our students. Not at all. In fact, at our youngest levels we are talking about a few minutes of reading with parents, which we believe both reinforces academic success and enriches parent-child bonding time.
So with this understanding, how can you best support your student and ensure they’re getting the most value out of their homework time?
Reflect a positive attitude about homework. Parent attitude about homework will be mirrored by the student, so it is also important for the parent to reflect a positive attitude and positive encouragement for the student to complete their assignments.
You can make it a special time when you sit down with them and listen to what they’ve been learning and be there to answer questions.
Do YOUR “homework” while you sit with them: read a book, finish work you’ve brought home, etc. You can be a great model of focusing and working hard.
Set up a consistent schedule/routine: This will ensure your child knows what is expected, when, and how they’re going to get it done. (‘Put First Things First’, and ‘Begin with the End in Mind’--great Leadership habits!) For each family this is different, of course.
Some parents have their students do their work first rather than playing first.
Usually the drive home is enough of a break and a child can sit down again to complete their work, while the academics are still fresh in their mind.
A healthy snack along with their homework serves as 'brain food', and can make the experience more pleasant.
Some students have other activities/classes that have set times to them, so homework might have to be done after these extracurricular activities if they are right after school. If so, set another time in the evening that homework is done.
Work closely with teachers: Teachers are there to help you. They can help explain assignments or concepts that are not understood. They can also help set up patterns and routines to help ensure student success, for example instituting a teacher signature on the homework planner, etc. Don’t hesitate to reach out!
We have support structures in place at Arches to help students with their homework:
Morning enrichment: 7:30-8:15 Keri Wahl works closely with students on their homework and other extra practice they may need. (Extra fee, includes breakfast.)
Study Hall: Student’s not finished with assignments from the night before go to the after school Study hall for help from a teacher to complete it quickly and be caught up right away so they don’t miss a beat on understanding the concepts that other concepts will be built upon. (Extra fee)
After school Enrichment: Students work on their homework first, and have access to help from our Afterschool Director--one of our great Math and Science teachers! When homework is done, students get to engage in other fun, enrichment activities. (Extra fee, based on time attended.)
With this specific strategy and resources in place, we believe homework can be a beneficial aspect of your child’s educational experience. A balanced approach, with proper framework and support, can lead to enhanced work ethic and even an opportunity for family involvement.
If you’re curious about this and other aspects of Arches Academy, feel free to give us a call and schedule a tour! Call 801-374-5480 to learn more about Arches Academy.